Monday, May 11, 2009

Great Lakes Expo 1937

The Great Lakes Exposition was held in Cleveland, Ohio, in the summers of 1936 and 1937, along the Lake Erie shore north of downtown. The fair commemorated the centennial of Cleveland's incorporation as a city.

Conceived as a way to energize a city hit hard by the Great Depression, the exposition drew 4 million visitors in its first season, and 7 million by the end of its second and final season in September 1937.

The exposition was housed on grounds that are now used by the Great Lakes Science Center, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Burke Lakefront Airport.

A prominent entrance was at the north end of East 9th Street. The fairgrounds stretched from Public Hall to Lake Erie, and as far east as East 22nd Street, and covered 135 acres.

Fair attractions included a floating stage on the current site of the Great Lakes Science Center; the stage was home to jazz concerts by the Bob Crosby Orchestra.

The fairgrounds reopened in the summer of 1937, and attendance was estimated at 3 million. The floating stage became the setting for Billy Rose's Aquacade, a water music and dance show produced by Billy Rose. It starred Johnny Weissmuller and Eleanor Holm. The Aquacade later traveled to New York City for the 1939 New York World's Fair.

LINK: Photos from Leon Reed on Flickr.

1 comment:

Major Pepperidge said...

Very interesting, especially when you compare some things to the 1939 Fair... in fact, if you didn't tell me that these were from the Great Lakes Expo, I would have just assumed that they were from the '39 World's Fair!